Can We Leave The Politics At The Door Of The Gun Range?

Can We Leave The Politics At The Door Of The Gun Range?

One of the things I love about being a part of the Second Amendment movement is that it’s a big tent. From socialists to anarcho-capitalists, from ultra-conservative to uber-liberal, you can find gun owners who occupy every point on the political spectrum, along with every conceivable skin tone, gender role, race, creed, and blood type. The community of Second Amendment advocates is, I believe, more broad and diverse than any other single-issue movement in the country. I do worry though, that driven by the deepening divides in our country, we’re seeing more fractures in the fight to keep and bear arms.


One recent example of this comes from Colonial Heights, Virginia, just south of Richmond. The Smoking Gun shooting range found itself in some hot water recently after posting a new sign for customers to read.

“If you are anti-police, anti-military, associated with Cop Block, {or} Black Lives Matter (because all lives matter), stay off of my range. You are not welcome here. Period.”

According to NBC12 in Richmond, the sign took many customers who are fans of the range by surprise, “saying the staff is friendly and professional. It’s why so many were taken off guard by a sign that left them hurt.”

“Where you go to pay, it’s right there. You can’t miss it,” Jhovan Galberth said pointing to the sign…

“To everyone that says ‘all lives matter,’ duh. Not once have I heard someone saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ say that a white life doesn’t matter or a Hispanic life doesn’t matter. Not once have I heard that, so I don’t understand the tension of changing the narrative to make it a bad thing. What we’re working for is peace, is justice. We’re not saying we’re better than anyone. All we want is equal rights,” Galberth said.

Galberth is a local organizer who has spent the past couple of weeks organizing peaceful protests across the Tri-Cities.

“You have to get out of the narrative that it’s black vs. white because that’s not the narrative at all. It’s everybody against racism” he said.


According to the Richmond TV station, The Smoking Gun has now changed its sign to simply say “members of hate groups are not welcome.” That’s a much more succinct (and better stated) statement of principles, but if I were the range owner and felt like I needed to make some sort of statement in my business, I would have gone with a sign that read “Leave Your Politics At The Door. We’re All Gun Owners Here.”

Maybe it’s an impossible expectation in the supercharged political environment we’re living in, but I think Second Amendment activists have probably the best chance at sitting down with people of different viewpoints and actually being able to have a conversation and dialogue. We share a commonality, after all, despite our differences of opinion. Gun owners could not actually help lead us out of this colossal clown show we’re living in, but a united front of gun owners across the political spectrum lobbying in support of our 2A rights could pay big dividends. That can only happen, however, if we don’t end up compartmentalizing gun ownership into smaller and smaller tents and tribes.

We also need a politics-free zone where that commonality is on full display, where we can shoot together instead of shouting at one another. The range is the perfect place to make our big tent even bigger, but we could also end up tearing it down and turning it into yet another battlespace in our ongoing culture wars. That would be a tragic turn of events for all gun owners, both politically and culturally.




Join the conversation as a VIP Member